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May 22, 2023

Capturing the Magic of Lot Premiums

There is an art to selling view lots and charging for premium views. And there are a wide variety of types of views. But how do you take a non-view lot and turn it into something special? Let’s look at the various lots and see what borrow for our non-view lots.

  • Water view
  • Mountain view
  • Golf course view
  • Natural area
  • Non view lots

The Role of Biophilia

But first, let’s talk about the role of biophilia and it contributes to our lot premium discussion. Biophilia is defined as “The innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living beings.” In simple terms, we are naturally drawn to nature. I’ve read that this desire is imprinted in our DNA. There has been a lot written about how to use biophilia inside the home, but it first and foremost impacts how we select our homesites.

Water View Lots

Water views tend to get the highest premium – especially if the water view lot also has water access. And if the water is deep enough, water lots unlock the possibility for a dock and boating. Of course, narrower bodies of water have the challenge of boat noise – but the fun outweighs the cons.

But what makes a view of water so enticing? Perhaps it is the ever-changing vista. With a lack of wind, water can look like glass – almost mirror like with reflections. Add a light breeze, and the reflections become more abstract. As the sun rises and sets, the water changes color.

At night, a still body of water can reflect the moon and surround lights. Moving water can be meditative, be it a river, stream, or the ocean. Often moving water includes soothing sounds, like a babbling brook or waves breaking. The ocean also brings that wonderful salty air that lifts your spirits.

Of course, bodies of water can be affected adversely by weather. In this case, it becomes detrimental and downright dangerous. Oceanfront lots have not only the danger from storm surge but also the corrosive nature of salt mist in the air.

Mountain View Lots

Friends of ours have a mountain view. Much like water, mountains provide an ever-changing vista with the sun. Other weather changes include the role of clouds and even snow in the winter. In the fall, mountains can take on a beautiful warm glow if they have deciduous leaves. Mountains don’t have the same danger associated with water lots such as storm surge or flooding. And since mountains can be seen from afar, there is no noise that comes from mountain vehicles. As a result, mountain view lots can be more peaceful than water view lots with boat noises.

Golf Course Lots

The recent trend in golf course design is to line the fairways with houses. This is different than the Oak Hill Country Club (which hosted the PGA Championship over this past weekend) designed in 1920 – where you could see no houses along the golf course. Back in early May, the Wells Fargo Championship was held at Quail Hollow Country club – where the fairways were surrounded by mansions.

What’s not to love about living next to a large green space, immaculately groomed, and maintained (by someone other than you!)? One South Carolina golf course paints their fairways in the winter so it can be green all year round.

But there are downsides to living on a golf course: compromised privacy and high-speed projectiles! When we lived on a golf course, we had broken windows and rude golfers who would drive their cart into our yard and hit their balls there. The most sought-after golf course lot is water to golf with both water and golf views. You get most of the previously mentioned attributes of water views with the added barrier that keeps golfers off your property.

Golf course architects have the added challenge of creating lot premiums while still maintaining a playable course.

Views of Natural Areas

Whether is woods or marshes, these views command a premium as well. Not only does the natural area change color with the seasons, but they also offer privacy of having no houses, cars, boats, or golfers behind you.

One downside might be the occasional wild animal wandering into your yard. In alligator country, small dogs beware!

Non-View Lots

If you’re a builder or developer, your community may be devoid of water, mountains, and golf lots. But what can we learn from the premium lots we just described? Privacy, landscaping, and water all play a big role. As designers, we can still offer amenities in the backyards. Adding a pool in one way to add a water view inside your yard. Be sure to add a vertical element to your pool and not just a hole in the ground.

But pools are not practical in all climates. Instead, consider a small water feature – whether it’s a Koi Pond, a water fall or fountain, consider adding moving water with its soothing sound. Add lights to moving water and watch the delightful play of light that bounces off the water. The sound of water is a wonderful way to mask unwanted highway sounds.

Adding a mountain view may be out of the question, but what about your own personal golf course / putting green?

I have also seen examples of horizontal apartments with canine turf for both color and well – you know.

If your homesites backs to a wall or another house, consider adding a trellis with vines to create a focal point and your own “nature view lot”. In winter, fireplaces and firepits are always a big hit.

But when the trees are bare and the grass is gray, planting evergreen trees is critical. You can also spruce up the landscape with ornament cabbage or winter pansies.

Make Every Lot a Premium

I love to see when homeowners and designers are able to transform a seemingly ordinary lot into something unique, special, and beautiful. Do any projects come to mind? I’d love to see them! Email me your favorite lots at

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters